Google just announced a new program that aims to bring more Chromebooks to schools. The company is working with online charity DonorsChoose.org to help bring more of its web-centric laptops to budget-strapped classrooms across the United States. Throughout the holiday season, teachers will be able to request Samsung Series 5 Chromebooks for their classrooms. Google is making the hardware available for $99 (including management and support). Normally, the Series 5 Chromebooks retail for $399.
Google also today announced that over 1,000 schools have adopted Chromebooks in their classrooms.
On DonorsChoose.org, these Chromebook campaigns will look just like every other one on the service. Teachers can post their requests for up to 30 Chromebooks on DonorsChoose.org, anybody can make a donation and once they achieve their funding goals, Google’s partner Lakeshore Learning will send the Chromebooks. Teachers can find detailed instructions for how to get started here and the program is scheduled to run until December 21, 2012.
Schools are, without doubt, one of the few areas where Google’s Chrome OS is making an impact. Despite the fact that Chrome OS is rapidly maturing (and maybe even Google’s “most underrated project,” as our own Drew Olanoff called it last week) and even Google’s recent marketing efforts, it’s not clear that there is any mainstream demand for Chromebooks just yet. Schools, however, are very enthusiastic about this project, and I’ve heard from a number of teachers that they would rather have their students use Chromebooks than iPads in their classrooms.